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by Senior Editor

Taking the ‘Closed’ Out of CCTV

Oct 22, 20092 mins
Physical SecurityVideo

The Physical Security Interoperability Alliance releases another draft specification for IP-based surveillance device interoperability

CCTV surveillance systems are notoriously proprietary. (Hey, those circuits are “closed”, after all.) The IP networking protocol is generally thought of as an ‘open’ system – but that doesn’t mean all IP-based surveillance devices work together.

Members of the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (, a consortium of approximately 50 physical security product providers, continue to tackle the issue of interoperability between IP-enabled security technologies. The group recently released a draft of what it hopes will become the second specification to standardize IP-enabled video platforms.

The so-called ‘Recording and Content Management’ (RaCM) draft specification builds on a specification released earlier this year that created standards for how a video stream goes from a camera to viewers or recording devices. This latest RaCM specification takes the second step. RaCM would standardize the way recording and content management products communicate with other devices in the security ecosystem, according to PSIA member Dave Fowler, senior vice president of marketing & product development with VidSys, who co-chairs the RaCM working group.

“This second area is: If you send video to recording device, how does the device handle storing it, playing it back and being able to create metadata so you can find it again?” said Fowler.

Fowler said the goal is for recording devices and video management systems to enable users to have a single video management system (VMS) to view recorded video. The end result, he said, would reduce significant headaches and expensive changes that are necessary now because there is currently no interoperability protocol for existing DVR/NVR solutions.

Also see VMS: How to Manage Suveillance Video

“While they (DVRs/NVRs) typically have the functionality of this specification in their technology, they don’t have a standard way of communicating with systems outside their box,” said Fowler. “So this says: Instead of communicating in a proprietary format that only you can understand, here is a mapping of a format you can put your technology into that will allow anyone else that wants to talk to your box, to talk to your box.”

After the group assimilates public comment from security industry professionals on the specification, it will be open for input from a wider group, said Fowler.